Heater tuned below low and still WAAAAY to hot

Heater tuned below low and still WAAAAY to hot

by Mike
(Portland Oregon)

I have a Reliance gas hot water heater approx 5 years old. Recently I noticed that the water has gotten much hotter and I have been turning it down and currently I have it set between low and vacation setting and it is still hot. AND, I have had to pull apart two of the faucets in the house clogged and I had to remove debris from the supply valve (white plastic). What do I need to do to fix the over heating problem (replace the temp sensor?) and what is the white (milk jug color) plastic part and how do I replace it as well?

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water heaters